The Absolute Best Sunscreen Brands, According to Someone Who Hates Sunscreen


(Image credit: @helenacuesta)

I'm glad I'm working from the isolation of my L.A. apartment (and not the WWW office) as I make the following very controversial confession: I hate wearing sunscreen. In fact, more often than not, I commit the cardinal sin of forgoing it altogether. Even before I became a beauty editor, I was aware of the importance of wearing sunscreen. I was perpetually slathered in Coppertone growing up thanks to my sun-savvy mom (who, ironically, is obsessive about SPF), and as a freckled, fair-skinned, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, burn-prone person with a family history of skin cancer, I've always known I'm a prime contender for the scary C word. The thing is, I absolutely despise how so many formulas feel and look on my skin, and 90% of the time, I'm left with a rash of post-sunscreen breakouts and bumps. So despite how stupid it might seem, I just chose to opt out. 

Over the years, I have gotten better. First of all, there are some truly amazing brands and innovations happening in the sunscreen space, which obliterate a lot of my previous pain points. Second of all, I've had multiple dermatologists already tell me I have some super-sus moles that need to be monitored. Third of all, practically every dermatologist I've talked to says sunscreen is the most effective product for pumping the breaks on visible, premature signs of aging. So yeah, I've slowly but surely gotten better about applying sunscreen not just on the days I know I'll be out in the hot L.A. sun but also on just any old day, no matter where I am, what I'm doing, or what the weather is like. But if I'm going to be wearing sunscreen, it has to be great. It has to be effective, it has to feel invisible, and it has to make my skin look better, not worse. Curious to find out which sunscreen brands I actually wear and recommend to my fellow sunscreen despisers? Keep scrolling! My top 11 picks are just below. 





Eleven by Venus Williams

Black Girl Sunscreen



Sun Bum



Up next, I'm Lazy—These 10 Sunscreen Serums Save Me Time, Money, and Sun Damage

Beauty Director

Erin has been writing a mix of beauty and wellness content for Who What Wear for over four years. Prior to that, she spent two and half years writing for Byrdie. She now calls Santa Monica home but grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and studied writing, rhetoric, and communication at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She studied abroad in Galway, Ireland, and spent a summer in L.A. interning with the Byrdie and Who What Wear family. After graduating from UW, she spent one year in San Francisco, where she worked as a writer for Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen before moving down to L.A. to begin her career as a beauty editor. She considers her day-to-day beauty aesthetic very low-maintenance and relies on staples like clear brow serum (from Kimiko!), Lawless's Lip Plumping Mask in Cherry Vanilla, and an eyelash curler. For special occasions or days when she's taking more meetings or has an event, she'll wear anything and everything from Charlotte Tilbury (the foundations are game-changing), some shimmer on her lids (Stila and Róen do it best), and a few coats of the best mascara-type product on earth, Surratt's Noir Lash Tint.